OAKHURST — The Yosemite High School boys basketball season came to an end with a 67-50 loss at Kerman High School in the first round of the CIF Division 4 playoffs on Feb. 13.
There were a number of players on the floor on both teams with the potential to play basketball at the college level, so it was unfortunate when officiating upstaged the talent of the athletes — the Badgers’ best player, Paul Antonis, fouled out of the game mid-way through the third quarter. Antonis led the team in scoring (15.8 points per game) and assists (4.8 per game) this year, and was second on the team in rebounding (6.3/game). He finishes his YHS career as one of the top scorers in YHS basketball history.
Senior Christian Rold (top rebounder on the team at 6.5/game), sophomores Holden Eames and Ethan Coffman, as well as juniors Owen Bazaar and Nathaniel Mulkey, refused to quit when Antonis left, leaving the outcome of the game in doubt until the last few minutes. Eames led the Badgers with 19 points, and Bazzar had 17. Kerman, however, showed why they were the North Sequoia League champs, holding off the Badgers after Antonis’ departure.
The Badgers were 14-15 overall on the season, finishing fourth in the NSL behind Kerman, Liberty and Washington Union. The Badgers notched wins over Liberty and Washington Union during league play, making their 4th place league finish somewhat misleading — they were a solid team capable of beating anybody on a given night.
Antonis was not the only player who excelled for the Badgers this year.
Rold was a rebounding force inside who gave the Badgers the athleticism and physicality needed to compete with the bigger Kerman team. According to Head Coach Erik Peterson, senior Dylan Allen “played great defense all year, and was a reliable 3 point shooter.”
Peterson also praises the other seniors — Jeroe Solon for his defense, John Nisar for his hard work and tenaciousness, which led to an expanded role on the team as the year went on, and Clayton Elrod for his work ethic.
“I really enjoyed this group of players,” adds Peterson. They worked hard every day. Assistant Coach Steve Lopez has been a big asset this year. His knowledge of the game has taken us to another level.”
Next year looks promising for the Badgers. They return major contributors Bazzar (third on the team with 9.8 points/game), Eames (the last of the talented Eames brothers to come through YHS, who averaged 10.5 points/game), and Coffman, as well as center Nathaniel Mulkey (also a water polo standout), who split time with Rold at center this year. Jackson Thearle, Daylen Datchuck, Garrett McMechan and Jack Elrod will bring depth to the team.
“I’ll miss these seniors, but I’m excited about next year,” were Petersen’s final thoughts on the successful season.